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On 2/25/2020 at 2:19 PM, The Bird Nuts said:

It takes way too long to set the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO for each and every shot in Manual Mode, especially when shooting birds.  That's why I use Aperture Priority and let the camera choose from a range of shutter speeds and ISO.

 

I've tried Aperture mode, and find that the camera will choose a shutter speed that's not always appropriate. The ISO is usually way to high, and you end up with blown highlights. Manual mode has given me the best results.  Believe it or not, the camera does not always know best.

In camera RAW processing gives me the option of tweaking the photo if it's necessary, but I use that feature very little. Manual mode takes more time to master, but it's well worth it.

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On 2/28/2020 at 1:10 PM, Charlie Spencer said:

I almost never use the camera's display to view pictures.  I've just taken it for granted that the screen is too small and of too low a resolution for me to accurately judge how the photos are coming out, esp. in terms of ISO / noise.  I'll have to figure out how to use it effectively.

I suggest that you try using your view screen to review some of your photos while you are actively using the camera, Charlie. Your display screen should be able to show you whether your shots are underexposed and too dark, or overexposed and too bright, using blinkies(for lack of a better word) can help show overexposed/underexposed areas. Zooming in while viewing the photo should be able to give you an indicator if the subject is in or out focus and how noisy/grainy the image is, too. My theory is that while viewing photos on the camera, the more I can zoom in on my photo without signs of distortion, blur or graininess, the better the image is. If it looks funking at the first stage of zoom view, I know it won't be as good a photo as the one I can zoom halfway through before any funkiness shows up, and won't be anywhere near as good as the photo that zoom view allows me to zoom in all the way with no funkiness. I don't use the display view as a final deciding factor but I do us it to see if my exposure is right and to get a feel of the images quality of focus.

Another 2 cents worth.

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Posted (edited)

Well, that was ... interesting.

Outside, overcast, what I consider medium light.  Since I'm having trouble understanding the effect of the ISO setting, I planned to take a series of shots, increasing the ISO between each one.  I set the camera to manual and the ISO to 100. 

The only F settings that weren't red were between 2,8 and 4.0.  Selecting 3.2 left me with shutter speeds between 60 and 125.  I took 125, zoomed all the way in on a tree stump about 75 yards away, and pushed the shutter button halfway to focus.

The screen went completely black and the displayed F and S settings turned red.  I released the button without taking the photo.  The display came back and I notice the exposure compensation had shifted all the way to the left at -3.  If I did that, I don't know how.  I took the shot anyway and got the expected black image.

I shifted to Shutter mode and the ex-comp returned to centered on 0.  I went back to Manual and ex-comp went back to -3 on it's own.  I fiddled with every combination of controls and settings.  Nothing I did after budged the ex-comp off -3: ISO, F, S, white balance; nothing.  I didn't try taking a shot under those circumstances, I already had picture of a black cat in a coal mine at midnight.  I shifted back to Shutter and successfully took a mediocre image just to prove the camera was indeed working.  I went to Ap mode and again successfully took a shot.  Back to manual, back to ex-comp -3.

What da heck?

On a side note, I noticed that sometimes shutter speeds are displayed with the fastest speed on the left, sometimes on the right.  I couldn't determine what caused the switch or what the significance is, but I definitely don't recall seeing that in the manual.  I don't remember if the F numbers did the same; I was still trying to figure out what was going on in Manual mode.

Suggestions?

Edited by Charlie Spencer

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Posted (edited)

I can't be certain of what's going on, Charlie, but here's my suspicions. Your camera probably shows a +/-3 meter that can't tell you when the exposure is way beyond the low end of the scale's range. If the scale only goes to -3 and lets say that the exposure is actually -6,  you're only going to see -3 on the scale. Turning the dial once or twice won't show any change on the scale, it would still read -3 because the actual exposure would now be at -4. I can't help but wonder if you took a couple of pics when you didn't want to push the shutter button, if you may have been able to see a slight change in how black the cat in the coal mine was and if there was any actual change . Your eyes might have noticed the brightness change from -6 to -4 even if the meter showed -3 for both. 

I also suspect that you might have to turn your control dial in the opposite direction than what you're used to when you've used exposure compensation in aperture or shutter priority. I'm not familiar with your particular camera, and it's been so long since I used exposure compensation that I'm not all that confident in which way the dial turns on my own camera, but I think it's possible you may have to turn the dial opposite direction of what you'd think, and possibly turn it a lot before you see any changes that'll show up on the metering scale, especially with low ISO and overcast skies.

Can't really help with the shutter and aperture being displayed in different places, sorry.

Edited by lonestranger
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As usual, I didn't make myself clear.

When in Manual mode, I can't find way to adjust the ex. comp.  When in Ap or SS, I can toggle the control wheel between that specific setting or ex. comp.  In Manual, the wheel goes between F and SS only, with no apparent way to change the ex. comp.  I understand what you're saying about it possibly being set beyond -3, but I can't figure out what controls it when in M.

This probably explains the grossly under exposed shots I got when I tried M during the GBBC.  I gave that up after a few minutes but didn't notice the ex. comp. setting at that time.

I'll check the user manual again and try some Googling.  Thanks.

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Not sure I can help but a few random thoughts. What lonestranger said plus:

From your description it sounds like the lighting was quite low so ISO100 would certainly restrict the options.

When you zoom in from a wide shot to something like a tree stump the exposure requirement changes, typically needing two or three stops more exposure - so larger aperture/lower f stop and/or slower shutter speed (or higher ISO). This would probably have moved you out of the range of correct exposure by a margin.

I'm not sure that what you are calling exposure compensation (EC) is actually that or is it the camera showing the level of under/over exposure? Exposure compensation is user applied rather than a camera input (and is typically sticky - does not reset when you turn the camera off and on again).

However, your comment about it not being available in manual is correct as that is the point of manual control - no need for EC as you are controlling the settings. In A or S (both automatic modes) you apply your setting and then can over-ride the camera exposure choice with EC eg. dark subject in a bright setting.

The cameras today have so many options that the trick is to find the mode that suits you best and stick with it, at least until you become more familiar with it. There are pros and cons to A and S and it may be best just to pick one and get familiar with it, easy to change later, and also leave M for later. With my Panasonic ZS50 pocket camera I use Shutter priority (as I can change the shutter speed quickly to suit the conditions) and auto ISO with an upper limit of 6400, a little high (although I shoot in raw, plus jpeg, which gives better noise reduction control in post editing).

Hope I haven't confused things more.

 

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Just for the record, I don't edit or post process for a few reasons.

First, I take photos to either document what I saw, or to have an image to identify a bird that I couldn't name in the field.  I'm after functional photos, not artistic ones.  Second, by the time I've sorted through what images to keep and uploaded them to eBird, I'm usually tired of looking at that set for a while.  Third, I'm pretty goal-oriented but with editing, I don't know what my goal is.  Editing frustrates the heck out of me because I don't know what the finished product should look like or when to quit. 

I'm happier shooting .JPG and taking what I'm given.  Since memory is cheap, if I take a lot of shots of a subject I usually wind up with at least one I'm happy with.  That's why I want to get images that are closest to what I saw with the camera alone.

Thanks.

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38 minutes ago, RobinHood said:

From your description it sounds like the lighting was quite low so ISO100 would certainly restrict the options.

When you zoom in from a wide shot to something like a tree stump the exposure requirement changes, typically needing two or three stops more exposure - so larger aperture/lower f stop and/or slower shutter speed (or higher ISO). This would probably have moved you out of the range of correct exposure by a margin.

 I'm a network admin and part of my troubleshooting process is to start with a baseline and then adjust one factor at a time.  It sounds like you're saying I should have taken a different approach to seeing the effect of changing the ISO settings, or at least not have started with 100 on a cloudy day.  I'll see if there's some combination of settings I can apply to get something other than black.  I know the camera itself functions; I can get photos in other modes.

I'd put it in Auto and forget it except in that mode, this camera insists on displaying the new image for 2 seconds.  That can't be overridden, and two seconds is a long time to lose visibility of your subject when your shooting birds.

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29 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

First, I take photos to either document what I saw, or to have an image to identify a bird that I couldn't name in the field.  I'm after functional photos, not artistic ones.

Me too for the most part and agree that Auto is not the way to go.

If you want to stick with M mode I would suggest going into the menu and setting auto ISO with perhaps an upper limit of 1600 or 3200 (otherwise you will be making setting changes continuously which is OK for landscapes but not for birds).

You can then select shutter speed, say 1/500, and aperture of say F6.3. On a dull day you could probably lower the shutter speed (I am guessing your camera has stabilization) and/or a lower F stop and on a bright day the converse. Your camera probably also tells you what ISO number it has selected so you can monitor this. If your subject cooperates you could try different settings. With this approach you should get some reasonable results and after the fact you can decide what values of ISO are acceptable.

Basically I am suggesting that for bird ID it is better to get a reasonably sharp image with some level of noise than a low noise blurry image.

FWIW.

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15 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

I understand what you're saying about it possibly being set beyond -3, but I can't figure out what controls it when in M.

I'm afraid I can't help you there, Charlie. I pulled out my old Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 and charged up the battery to see if I could refresh my memory on how the controls work in the hopes that your Panasonic had some what similar controls. When I powered it up and turned the main program dial to Manual, all it did was go back and forth between IntelligentAuto and Program mode, I couldn't access Aperture or Shutter mode or any of the dozen or so other options on the dial. Maybe it's a Panasonic glitch that just doesn't like Manual mode...:classic_unsure: 

Perhaps contacting Panasonic tech support can shine some light on your problem. We've been looking at it as if you are doing something wrong when it's entirely possible that there is something wrong with the camera. Either way, I don't know how to help you figure out the control issue in Manual.

Wait, one last possibility, do you have a joystick type controller on the camera? If so, pushing the joystick up and down might control one setting and left to right might control the other setting. I'm just grasping at straws now and really hope that you can figure it out before your frustration gets to be too much.

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There is no exposure comp with my Canon when I shoot in manual mode with a hard ISO setting. It only would work in auto ISO.  I have a genuine distain for auto ISO. I do sometimes use a bracketed exposure, set to +1 and 0 for two shots. That can be handy in certain situations. Otherwise, I can adjust the compensation in full auto by changing the aperture or shutter speed.

Having several custom settings is convenient also. I'm photographing birds, when I look up and see a hawk overhead. I just turn my mode dial and I'm ready for flying birds. There are so many setting that can affect photo quality. You really just need to learn as much as possible. I'm in no way an expert, but I've come a long way in my quest.

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6 hours ago, mossyhorn said:

You really just need to learn as much as possible.

That's the sad part about getting better at photography, there is a lot to learn and it can become overwhelming at times. I started out much like @Charlie Spencer and struggled to understand what other people took for granted. I'd read the camera's manual and saw how to change settings without knowing why I would want to change them or how that would affect the end results. There's still settings I have never explored and don't know why I would need them, but they're there if I ever get around to learning them. I would read online resources and see that so-and-so used this mode and took stunning photos so I would try that mode. I'd play around with that mode for a while until I picked up on something new and then I'd try another mode. Once I learned about exposure compensation I thought I had it all figured out until my bird flew from the shadows under the tree to the very top of the tree and I forgot to change the exposure compensation accordingly. I got better and better with the help of Aperture mode and exposure compensation, to the point where I was pre-setting my Aperture and ISO and just using exposure compensation to control the shutter speed. Then it dawned on me that if I was setting my own ISO, Aperture, and then using exposure compensation to control the shutter speed, I was manually controlling the exposure triangle. I then decided to get over my fears of missing that all important shot, and turned the dial to that big M for Manual exposure. I don't think I am exaggerating when I say I that learned more after a month or two of using Manual than I had in the previous 5 years. After years and years of growing as a photographer, basically because of my interest in birds, my advise to someone in the early stages of a similar interest would be this....

First, learn the basics, meaning how to access and control ISO, aperture, shutter speed, focus modes and focal points, etc. Don't worry so much about what they do but ensure that you know how to access them because they'll need to be adjusted at some point or another unless you stay in 100% Auto mode. Some cameras aren't easily controlled and this is something that should be considered when thinking about upgrading your equipment. Ease of use is definitely a factor in achieving better photos, a quick turn of the dial is much easier than diving into a menu system and scrolling to your desired adjustment.

Secondly, read as much as you can even if you can't absorb it all. Somewhere down the road that info will make sense and suddenly a light will go off and you'll wonder why you didn't pick that up earlier. Speaking from personal experience here.

Lastly, skip the lessons that slow down your learning. I wasted time learning how to use P mode, I wasted time trying to use the scene modes, I wasted time trying to use shutter mode, I wasted time trying to use aperture mode, I wasted time trying to learn exposure compensation. All of those settings still left the camera in control, not as much as in full Auto, but the camera was still in control. In hind sight, if I had of dived right into Manual mode instead of being afraid of it, I would be a far better photographer than I am today. Now don't get me wrong, Manual mode isn't for everyone, but if you want to control your camera so that you don't end up with silhouettes all the time when a bird perches on top of a tree or telephone pole, Manual is the mode to learn. The other modes work well most of the time, and can be tweaked with exposure compensation, but the camera is in control and it can/does get it wrong now and then. If my exposure is wrong, I'd rather it be because I set it wrong than the camera setting it wrong, but that's just me and another two cents worth of my thoughts.

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Lots of good advice in the previous post from @lonestranger.

I became interested in photography in the late (19)50s when M was the only option, requiring a handheld exposure meter and flashbulbs for supplementary lighting.

I think this was actually far easier than deciding from the myriad of menu options a beginner now encounters when trying to move away from Auto.

The good news in the digital world is that the learning experience does not involve paying for developing and printing multiple shots of "black cats in a basement" or in my case endless blurred photos of Blue Tits eating peanuts (I have the proof).

I just realized that my compact camera is very similar to yours @Charlie Spencer (different model nomenclature) and can confirm that what you were seeing was the amount of over/underexposure for your current settings, rather than the exposure compensation setting.

I feel your pain - when I first got the camera I was somewhat overwhelmed by the menu options. I eventually found the settings that worked for me and have not changed them since (I use this as my stealth camera when I am out walking with non-birders and pretend that I am not birding - great camera).

If you have any specific questions about menu settings let me know.

 

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Posted (edited)

For me, it's not fear so much as not understanding how the controls operate and what they are doing, and not being able to produce consistent results.  I would gladly accept greater weight and size if it came with individual controls.  It took me four years to finally understand how to use the wheel to toggle between settings and set the same values consistently.  The manual just doesn't do a good job of explaining how to use it (I don't expect why).  The big shock earlier this week was finding that the exposure compensation I had control over in S or A mode was no longer accessible in M.  I wasn't using it much but at least I understood how to access it with the controls and alter the value on a consistent basis.  To have it go AWOL had me thinking, "Well, maybe I don't understand the mechanics of the controls after all."  Screwing around this week indoors (too rainy to get out), I'm starting to realize some combination of the other settings affects that scale.  But now I don't know if my goal is to get it centered before I shoot or if it even it matters.

It also appears that sometimes settings aren't applied until I press the button halfway to focus.  I'd swear in the other modes the brightness I saw on the screen before I focused remained the same after I focused.  That's why I was surprised when my first focus in M went totally black.  In retrospect, I -THINK- it was because the aperture was too small.  I went to the wrong, high-numbered end of the scale.  I know intellectually what the numbers mean but that went out the window in the field.

I wish the bloody rain would quit so I could get out.  I don't think I'm learning much indoors.  Or maybe I am but don't realize it, but is that learning?  But yeah, memory is cheaper than film and development.

Edited by Charlie Spencer

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8 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

I don't think I'm learning much indoors.  Or maybe I am but don't realize it, but is that learning? 

Whether you're learning or not, an outdoor classroom is always preferable. 😉  While you're indoors though, here's a link to an online source of tips and tutorials that might be helpful. I found the author to be easy to read and understand and the topics are pretty much anything you could think of and some topics you may not have thought about. I took the liberty of finding a short lesson on Manual mode because of the relevance, but if you look up top you'll see links to the Tips and Tutorials and the How do I? sections where you can find all kinds of topics in a similar format as this.  https://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/3400/take-photos-in-manual-mode-for-a-month/

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, lonestranger said:

Whether you're learning or not, an outdoor classroom is always preferable. 😉  While you're indoors though, here's a link to an online source of tips and tutorials that might be helpful. I found the author to be easy to read and understand and the topics are pretty much anything you could think of and some topics you may not have thought about. I took the liberty of finding a short lesson on Manual mode because of the relevance, but if you look up top you'll see links to the Tips and Tutorials and the How do I? sections where you can find all kinds of topics in a similar format as this.  https://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/3400/take-photos-in-manual-mode-for-a-month/

Blast it, I'm out of 'Likes' again!  Fortunately, the forecast is for clear weather the next three days.

Edited by Charlie Spencer

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I know that the Sunny 16 rule is not really necessary to know about with today's cameras but I think it's worth reading about. This short article might make setting your camera up for manual exposure a little easier and shows charts for suggested settings under various lighting conditions. https://www.slrlounge.com/photography-essentials-the-sunny-16-rule/

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Well, I seem to spend more time adjusting settings than taking photos, much less birding.  I can get a group of settings that isn't over or under exposed for a shot.   As soon as I zoom in or out or change direction to change targets, and then focus, I get warnings that I'm under or over again.  I'm often so far out that there isn't enough range in the acceptable ap or shutter settings to compensate.

I don't know if this camera is more sensitive to change than others, or if my initial combinations of settings lack the flexibility to adequately self-compensate for changing targets (if there is such a thing).  But apparently this camera won't tolerate remaining at max open app and a 400 or 800 ISO all day and adjusting only the shutter every time.  I don't like blaming the hardware, and I'm pretty sure that's not where the fault lies.  I can look at the metadata and see what settings were used to take a shot, but I'm darned if I know why I went with them.   It seems I taking a logical approach at the time but in retrospect it looks more like I'm stabbing in the dark at random.

Thanks, everybody.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/8/2020 at 9:00 PM, AlexHenry said:

Manual focus is good for still birds that are in dense cover

Please excuse me, but manual focus with this camera is a stone cold b****.  One button for the menu to go from Auto to manual, a wheel to select from that menu, a third to tell the camera I want to start focusing, back to the wheel for coarse adjustments, a different set of buttons for fine adjustments, ...

Now where the ****** did the bird go?  Even if the bird is still in place, it's impossible to stay aimed at it through all that clicking and pushing and turning and spinning.  Zoom out, find the bird again, zoom in, and of course it's out of focus again.

Manual focus is my only serious complaint with this piece of hardware.  I've basically written off that function.  I'd entertain replacing the unit but I don't know anywhere local to physically examine potential replacements, and I'm not dropping another $500-plus unseen again.

Auto focus it is, auto it will have to remain.  End of rant.

Edited by Charlie Spencer

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17 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Please excuse me, but manual focus with this camera is a stone cold b****.  One button for the menu to go from Auto to manual, a wheel to select from that menu, a third to tell the camera I want to start focusing, back to the wheel for coarse adjustments, a different set of buttons for fine adjustments, ...

Now where the ****** did the bird go?  Even if the bird is still in place, it's impossible to stay aimed at it through all that clicking and pushing and turning and spinning.  Zoom out, find the bird again, zoom in, and of course it's out of focus again.

Manual focus is my only serious complaint with this piece of hardware.  I've basically written off that function.  I'd entertain replacing the unit but I don't know anywhere local to physically examine potential replacements, and I'm not dropping another $500-plus unseen again.

Auto focus it is, auto it will have to remain.  End of rant.

Fair enough - definitely in most situations, manual focus is a lot worse than auto focus. Sounds like your camera's manual focus is especially frustrating, and believe me, I feel your pain. I pretty much exclusively use auto focus - probably 99% of the time.

But there are those rare cases - like when you see a bittern or rail that is frozen in place for minutes at a time, hidden in dense reeds, for example - autofocus doesn't work well in situations like that because if the cover is dense enough, the auto focus will focus on the cover instead of the bird.

DSCN6941.thumb.JPG.28130b5118b4ab7a91d627aa78ee8806.JPG

But with manual focus you can control that:

DSCN6940.thumb.JPG.e44f4ae7332160a098b22e0f768afe19.JPG

 

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, AlexHenry said:

Fair enough - definitely in most situations, manual focus is a lot worse than auto focus. Sounds like your camera's manual focus is especially frustrating, and believe me, I feel your pain. I pretty much exclusively use auto focus - probably 99% of the time.

But there are those rare cases - like when you see a bittern or rail that is frozen in place for minutes at a time, hidden in dense reeds, for example - autofocus doesn't work well in situations like that because if the cover is dense enough, the auto focus will focus on the cover instead of the bird.

 

Oh, I'm well aware of the advantages.  I have some lousy shots of Chat tucked back into some shrubbery.  There's enough of him to ID easily, but that's all that can be said for that shot.

In cases like the rail, I can often autofocus on something at the same range, hold the button halfway and then shift to the bird before fully pressing the button.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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22 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

 As soon as I zoom in or out or change direction to change targets, and then focus, I get warnings that I'm under or over again.

It sounds like the meter has tricked the photographer similar to the way it tricks the camera into reading the lighting wrong. When you change directions the background changes and the meter will reflect that by going up and/or down, even though the lighting hasn't changed. Manual photography is almost a set it and forget it adjustment, if you take a few test shots and find the right exposure, you can pretty much ignore the meter and just leave your settings alone. It'll need to be reset when the lighting changes but if the lighting stays the same, set it and forget it.

Try this Charlie. Set your ISO to 400, set your aperture to f/5.9(your largest aperture at max zoom), and set your shutter speed to 1/500, and then take a test shot and review it on your display screen. Increase your shutter speed if it's too bright and take the same shot over again and review it, repeat this until your test shot looks the right brightness. Reverse the process and decrease your shutter speed if your test shot comes up too dark. Once you have found that magic spot where your picture isn't too bright or too dark, turn the camera away from your test subject and, without making any more adjustments, take a few different test shots, a stick on the ground under a tree, a branch in the middle of a tree, max zoom of the top of a tree, etc. Review these new test shots and see if they work for you, if they're all under or over exposed then make a shutter adjustment accordingly and repeat the same shots and review the results. It might take a bit to get the right settings at first, but after a few tries you'll get faster and faster at pre-setting the camera and be able to forget about the camera settings and focus on finding the birds and just pressing the shutter button.

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My last post on this topic Charlie, honestly.

I have had my Panasonic ZS50 (very similar to your camera, I think) for about three years and it has been used quite often for birds when I was not carrying a dSLR.

You are correct about manual focus - with a compact (electronic display) camera it is too laggy/slow to be useful for birds (and probably anything else) so I use the "pre-focus" method that you mentioned, just need a steady shutter button finger.

My finding was that when using a fairly wide range zoom lens like this one the exposure settings change too quickly for M mode to be practical - you need to be concentrating on the bird not exposure settings.

Please try S mode (aperture is not as critical with a small sensor camera) with a default of1/500 (easily adjusted to suit conditions with the large rear wheel) and auto ISO with an upper limit of 3200 (I use 6400 but shoot raw).

You can also use the Function buttons to lock in exposure or focus or whatever is the most useful.

My $0.01 - I won't annoy you any more.

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13 hours ago, lonestranger said:

When you change directions the background changes and the meter will reflect that by going up and/or down, even though the lighting hasn't changed.

It's not just the meter that changes.  The preview when I focus gets lighter or darker, and the test shots match!

13 hours ago, lonestranger said:

Set your ISO to 400, set your aperture to f/5.9(your largest aperture at max zoom), and set your shutter speed to 1/500, and then take a test shot and review it on your display screen. Increase your shutter speed if it's too bright and take the same shot over again and review it, repeat this until your test shot looks the right brightness. Reverse the process and decrease your shutter speed if your test shot comes up too dark. Once you have found that magic spot where your picture isn't too bright or too dark, turn the camera away from your test subject and, without making any more adjustments, take a few different test shots, a stick on the ground under a tree, a branch in the middle of a tree, max zoom of the top of a tree, etc. Review these new test shots and see if they work for you, if they're all under or over exposed then make a shutter adjustment accordingly and repeat the same shots and review the results.

This looks like what you recommended several posts ago, and that's what I've been using as my starting point.  There doesn't appear to be a 'magic' spot.  I can find settings I'm happy with for an initial test shot.  Rotate 90 degrees, point up or down, or zoom in; the meter shifts, the preview and photos shift correspondingly.  Test shots at the base of shrubs are darker, shots of upper branches are lighter.  I'm getting exactly what the camera is showing me in the preview, which frankly is what I want and would expect.  But it definitely isn't a case of 'set for the day and forget it'.

Respectfully, maybe all Panasonic Lumix behave this way.  I have no experience with anything other than the most rudimentary P&Ss, ones that lacked any controls at all, so I have no basis for comparison.  But I'll keep swinging.

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